Rail Delivery Group outlines ticket reform plans

OUTLINE plans which could change how rail fares are calculated will form part of a rail industry contribution to the Williams Review.

The proposals have been submitted by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which represents all train operators.

Following the biggest fares consultation in rail history, eight passengers out of 10 want the system overhauled; nine out of 10 want consideration of smart or electronic tickets, with the potential for price capping; and, eight out of 10 want consideration of fares based on encouraging travel to fill up empty seats.

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Cash, contactless or smart card are popular ways to pay for rail travel. Mobile phone tickets have also grown in popularity.

Fifty-five million fare combinations are in a system that dates from BR and pre-Privatisation, with passengers having become overwhelmed at the plethora of fare and route options, often buying the wrong ticket.  

The complexity has not been helped by train operator-specific tickets on shared routes, and the fact peak and off-peak periods vary from operator to operator. 

Passengers are often forced to buy peak tickets regardless of the fact as little as 20 minutes of their whole journey was in ‘peak time’. Even the elimination of off-peak fares on Fridays by Virgin, for example, has added further complexity to a muddled situation. 

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Read more in the March 2019 issue of The RM – on sale now!

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About the Author

Sam Hewitt